Paul George was a hot commodity this year, and the Atlanta Hawks reportedly came to Indiana with a huge offer. 

It’s becoming increasingly likely that George leaves Indiana as soon as the chance comes. There was speculation this year that a team like the Boston Celtics would make a move for the former All-Star, but that never came to be. In a report from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the Hawks also had their eye on George and offered the Pacers four first-round picks.

Indiana declined. They want to hold onto the 27-year-old, and he wouldn’t mind staying with them, but the caveat is that they need to turn into a contender. He just finished arguably the best season of his career but didn’t land on any of the All-NBA teams when they got announced on Thursday. In 75 games, George averaged a career-high 23.7 points while shooting 46.1 percent from the field, 39.3 from three and 89.8 from the foul line. He added 6.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.6 steals for a Pacers team that finished the year 42-40.

The Cleveland Cavaliers dismantled them swiftly in the first round of the playoffs, and it was a demoralizing end to a campaign that began with much promise. Indiana added Jeff Teague and Thaddeus Young over the summer, and Myles Turner was expected to improve substantially with an increased role. Expectedly, the team struggled with chemistry. The season ebbed and flowed for all 82 games, and George publically spoke out against his team on various occasions.

Also Read: Here’s One Instance of George Speaking About His Team

With his outcry, one would think that he wants to jump ship and not waste his prime on a team that can’t contend. On the other hand, Indiana’s been his home for the last seven years, and they aren’t that far away from becoming a force again.

Offering four first-rounders is a bit outrageous, but the Hawks must’ve become enamored with George. Since no one voted him to an All-NBA team, the money he can sign for is altered dramatically — $75 million less, to be exact. Windhorst noted how Indiana could’ve presented a deal that maxed out at five-years, $210 million. That’s an average annual salary of $42 million(!).

Is it best for George to stay in Indiana? I don’t believe so — not unless they attempt to surround him with other pieces. However, there have been talks about him going to the Los Angeles Lakers. If that’s the case, and his decision comes down to the Pacers and Lakers, it would be best to stay where he is now.

George would waste the best seasons of his career playing for a team that might not even make the playoffs. The East may be LeBron James‘ conference, but at least the Pacers already have a squad that can compete with a majority of the other teams.

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